I am so enjoying my time here at Summit Semester. These are my people. This is my church. This is the body of Christ. The words that I wrote in my journal last month ring even truer today than the day I wrote them, “Never have I spent nineteen days with the same people and yet feel like I’ve known them nineteen years.” Looking back to Day 1, I didn’t think these relationships would become so deep and so tender. Daily, I am blown away by the community here. Additionally, two things take my breath away: the altitude and the view.
On the main doors, we’ve pinned our virtues that we laboriously thought up on Day 1. We asked ourselves, “What do we want the Summit Semester class of 2014 to be remembered by?” Painstakingly, we came up with several core values to live by, both now and on that dreadful day when we part ways. We chose honor, service, courage, joy, and unity. As if choosing these virtues wasn’t tough enough, it has been an even tougher battle to carry these out day by day. My selfish nature continually gets in the way, but I am constantly reminded to strive to live like Christ. There are definitely days I wish I could sleep through (particularly when there is a test lurching in the distance). It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so worth it. Since September 5th, I’ve been challenged spiritually and mentally, all while getting to share life with an incredible community of believers.
God challenges me spiritually, every day. I am being challenged in how I interact with others. Will I choose to serve others or myself today? On a partially selfish-feeling day, I was reminded about the dangers of judging others through a Timothy Keller article. He discussed how our view of sin affects our view of God and how our view of God affects our view of sin. I was struck by the importance of seeing my sin appropriately. When I view my sin as of little significance, I then put little emphasis on God. If I downplay my sin, then I diminish the God who sent His Son as a ransom for me. I realized an insignificant view of sin leads to an insignificant view of the God of the universe. My focus has shifted from the minute view of sin to a grievous view of sin, therefore needing a bigger God. My eyes have been opened to a holier view of our Creator. As Isaiah says in his first chapter, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…if you are willing and obedient”. What a gracious God – hallelujah, He does not treat us as our sins deserve!
We’ve been studying in this beautiful mountainous region for 6 weeks and it’s crazy how day by day, the more I learn the less I seem to know. Sitting in the classroom, whether we’re discussing St. Augustine, John Stewart Mills, Deconstructionism, or Abortion, I am aware of how ignorant I must appear to the professors – particularly Dr. Bauman. He has the uncanny ability to make the most scholarly student feel of the utmost stupidity. There have been many times when I’ve provided an answer that would suit your average professor. But Dr. Bauman is not your average professor. On some days, I leave the classroom with more questions than answers. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be – I think. Though the classes are mentally taxing, I would not trade this time of enrichment for anything in the world.
Whether it’s sanding and staining wood, cleaning vans, sweeping floors, making dinner, washing dishes, pulling weeds, or folding laundry, I’m continually surrounded by people who love the Lord and love each other. It’s not the work that always challenges me, but I am challenged to ask myself, “How can I glorify God through this task?” One of the most amazing things is being immersed with people of the same vision. When you get 30 like-minded people together, incredible things can happen! A specific way I’ve seen this unique group of people come together as the Body of Christ and as a community was this past week. I felt like I was out for a decade, but really just had a cold of sorts. My roommate (shout-out to Ashlyn!), and some of the other students came to my aid. They came and loved me and brought me food, water, and tea – the necessities here! I was blown away by their selfless acts of service on my behalf. Being a natural ‘go-getter’, I found it surprisingly difficult to let them help me while I was sick. In the words of a wise individual, “don’t deprive someone of the blessing of serving you.” I never fully realized how unnatural it was to me to let others have the privilege to serve me. So thank you, Summit Semester students and staff for teaching me that lesson.
As I sit here realizing we’re at the halfway point in our journey, I am reflecting a few of my favorite things: these people, Pagosa Springs, a cup of hot tea, a good book, and learning. I’m reminded of the splendor and majesty of our Lord. His handiwork truly takes my breath away. Two weeks ago we took a trip to Ouray, appropriately named, ‘The Switzerland of America’. The drive down the Million Dollar Highway was one of the most stunning things I’ve ever beheld. That same weekend, we had the privilege to spend the afternoon with host families from church. This was personally one of the many highlights of my time here so far. A couple weeks ago, I got up an hour early and made 210 poached eggs. I’d never made one before in my life, now I can say I am thoroughly aware of how to make a poached egg. This semester has been a series of firsts for me: The Great Sand Dunes, intensive reading schedules, mandatory solitude times, making poached eggs, and hiking in the Colorado mountains.
I remember, for a brief period, questioning whether coming here was a wise choice. I believe God gives us those questions so we can look back and see His faithfulness through the rough times. Since then, I’ve had a heart change. I’ll let you know November 28th, at graduation, but I’m thinking this was one of the best decisions of my life. Although this has been startlingly stressful, I have surprised myself by actually pushing myself and accomplishing the reading (even with comprehension sometimes). This encouraging environment has helped to make me feel welcomed, loved and accepted. The staff are always prepared to discuss topics, go on a hike, or bring you food when you’re under the weather.
As I said before, this view and this altitude takes my breath away. But more than that, the people here have blown me away with their attitudes for learning and serving. Every hour of every day I feel like I’m learning something, either from a professor, other students, or the staff. I hope to leave this place in 6 weeks with a greater understanding of what it truly means to love and serve the Lord, and thereby better serve others. I hope this place is truly the cultivating grounds for honor, service, joy, courage and edification.
Becky Bush hails from Alabama. Serving others is the passion that plays a role in Becky’s potential future paths. The sciences are an area of particular interest. While at Summit Semester, Becky is looking forward to growing in her faith and trust in Christ. In the last year, Becky has had the opportunity to work at a therapeutic riding center. In her spare time, you’ll also find Becky enjoying the outdoors, doodling on a sketch pad, or adding another entry to her journal.